Got It In Just Under The Wire

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If you had any doubt that the theme for this decade's party is "Clueless" then you haven't been paying attention. (We are at a loss to explain why Merrill Lynch keeps throwing fetes at warm climate located Ritz Carltons in the absence of this basic fact). What? More evidence? How about this: PR Week magazine has awarded the public sector campaign of the year for 2009 (in March of 2009) to Weber Shandwick and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for their awareness campaign: "FDIC: Celebrating 75 Years, Not a Penny Lost."

Strategically speaking, the campaign was designed to deliver a consistent and easy-to-understand message about deposit insurance limits, while highlighting the FDIC as one of the bedrock institutions of the financial system. The effort also sought to engage members of the financial services community in a broad discussion about the FDIC to promote the role it plays in the lives of everyday Americans. The campaign also looked to drive consumers to the group's Web site and its toll-free phone number.
The FDIC and WS launched the campaign with a standing-room-only event at the National Press Club in Washington on the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's signing of the legislation creating the FDIC. In conjunction with advertising in weekly magazines, the effort leveraged the participation of financial leaders and prominent journalists in road-show events advocating personal financial education.

The FDIC beat out Edelman's "Encouraging Behavior Change Through Public Education" and State of California Dept. of Alcohol and Drug Programs. We sort of think they should have mounted a joint campaign.
Our favorite contender, Ogilvy PR Worldwide's "Federal Emergency Management Agency: Making America FloodSmart: Reducing the Risk and Impact of Floods," was eliminated in the finals.
Public Sector Campaign of the Year 2009 [PRWeek]

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Maybe Accused Insider Trader Timothy McGee Thought Intel Obtained In AA Meetings Got A Free Pass Under Securities Laws?

Pop quiz: you're an insider trader looking to score some fresh intel. You've exhausted all of your sources and what's more, you're sick of just hitting them up for tips-- you want to make obtaining material non-public information fun again. You figure the best way to go about that is to identify a target with obvious vulnerabilities that can be exploited for profit (always a good time). Do you a) go with the Danielle Chiesi move (i.e. requesting info post or, better yet, mid-coitus) b) get ordained as a Catholic priest and press penitents for potential market moving news during confession or c) go for broke: start attending AA meetings, become someone's sponsor and then, when he/she's confiding in you that the stress of his/her job at a certain company has been driving him/her to down a bottle of vodka every night, move in for the kill? If you're Timothy J. McGee, the answer is simple. The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged two financial advisors and three others in their circle of family and friends with insider trading for more than $1.8 million in illicit profits based on confidential information about a Philadelphia-based insurance holding company’s merger negotiations with a Japanese firm. The SEC alleges that Timothy J. McGee and Michael W. Zirinsky, who are registered representatives at Ameriprise Financial Services, illegally traded in the stock of Philadelphia Consolidated Holding Corp. (PHLY) based on nonpublic information about the company’s impending merger with Tokio Marine Holdings. McGee obtained the inside information from a PHLY senior executive who was confiding in him through their relationship at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) about pressures he was confronting at work. McGee then purchased PHLY stock in advance of the merger announcement on July 23, 2008, and made a $292,128 profit when the stock price jumped 64 percent that day. “McGee stole information shared with him in the utmost confidence, and as securities industry professionals he and Zirinsky clearly knew better,” said Elaine C. Greenberg, Associate Director of the SEC’s Philadelphia Regional Office. “As this case demonstrates, we will follow each link in a tipping chain all the way to Hong Kong if necessary.” From the complaint: In early July 2008, immediately after an AA meeting, the Insider confined to McGee that he had been drinking as a result of the mounting pressure, and revealed to McGee that the source of the pressure was ongoing confidential negotiations to sell PHLY. The Insider told McGee that the stress generated from his participation in the negotiations was having a negative impact on his personal life. In response, McGee expressed interest in the details of the PHLY sale and questioned the Insider about the details fo the impending deal. SEC Charges Five With Insider Trading on Confidential Merger Negotiations Between Philadelphia Company and Japanese Firm [SEC]